Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey

Hi everyone,

It is only one week away countdown to Thanksgiving !  I hope everyone is ready for wonderful holidays spent with family and loved ones.

There are many ways to prepare Thanksgiving Turkey, from Grandma’s oven-fresh traditional to infrared deep-frying, grilled, roasted, and many other delicious recipes. One of my favorites of all times is Herb Roasted Turkey. Hope you enjoy this traditional recipe ! Bon Appétit…

How to determine Size of Turkey to buy:

  • Count of how many guests / persons will be serving
  • Basic Rule of Thumb: 1 lb of un-stuffed, whole turkey per person for moderate leftovers
  • 3/4 lb per person, for turkey breast
  • 1/2 lb per person, for boneless turkey breast
  • 1 1/4 lb per person, for pre-stuffed frozen bird

Brining Turkey: key for moist, juicy and flavorful !

In cooking, brining is a process similar to marination in which meat is soaked in brine before cooking, and allows meat to become moister.

Personally, I prefer my turkey moist and juicy. Therefore brining turkey makes it moist, and juicy. Salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender-seeming turkey, regardless hours of cooking, turkey will still be juicy and flavorful.

Use a container that will be large enough to submerge turkey, such as bucket, roasting pan, or stock pot. If you must use a shallow roasting pan, be sure to turn turkey periodically and allow to soak in the brine. Place the container on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator, to avoid spilling any foods below.

Basic Brining: 2 cups of Salt + 2 gallons of Water

  • Dissolve salt (and sugar, if using) in two cups of hot water. Stir in remaining gallon plus 3 ½ quarts of cold water.
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  • Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours but no longer than 24 hours.

Roasting the Turkey

  • When you’re ready to roast, pour off the brine
  • Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and
  • Pat dry with paper towels
  • Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place turkey, Breast-Side up, on a Roasting rack
  • Proceed with your preferred recipe. Note: the turkey has already absorbed significant amount of salt, any drippings for gravy will already be salty, therefore recommended not to add more salt

Here is a traditional recipe: Herb Roasted Turkey

  • 1 (12 pound) whole turkey
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups water


  1. Preheat oven to 325 ° F
  2. Clean turkey (remove giblets and organs), and place in a roasting pan with a lid.
  3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic powder, dried basil, ground sage, salt, and black pepper. Using a basting brush, apply the mixture to the outside of the uncooked turkey.
  4. Pour water into the bottom of the roasting pan, and cover.
  5. Bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the thigh measures 180 ° F
  6. Remove bird from oven, and allow to stand for about 30 minutes before carving.

Carving turkey:  (you will need sharp carving knife and plastic wrap)

  • Let the turkey cool down for 20 – 30 minutes, making sure juice won’t go all over the place and to avoid juice to dry. Let it cool off before carving.
  • Use a sharp knife, cut the piece of skin in between the body and the leg. Separate the leg and the thigh from the body. Once separated, grab the body in one hand and thigh in the other, start pulling them apart all in one piece. Repeat on the other side.
  • Cut the thigh meat and carve it nicely
  • Separate the wing from the body. Grab the wing and pull it away from the turkey, take your knife and start cutting through the tendons surrounding the joint until you separate the wing form the body. Repeat on the other side.
  • (this is my favorite part):  Carve the turkey breast ! There are a couple options to carve the turkey breast. The traditional way to do this is carve in small slices off the side of the breast, this way does not dry out the meat. Another way, in maintaining the juiciness, is to cut the entire breast off the turkey and then carve it up into smaller slices onto the platter.
  • Carve down the side of the breastbone and continue making small slices with your knife until you can separate the entire breast from the turkey.
  • Slice the meat against the grain starting at the small point of the breast. You can make the slices as thin or as thick as you want. If you don’t think you’ll eat the entire breast, just cut what you’ll use, and wrap the rest of the breast in plastic wrap. It will stay nice and juicy for later.

Side Dishes: (I will post these recipes soon … stand by)

Green Bean Casserole

Sweet Potatoes puff with Crunchy Pecans & Pralines

Fruit Salad


I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday ! Don’t forget to spend time for Yoga, workout at the gym, or simply jogging during the holiday to balance healthy life style. Stay warm during the holidays ! Gobble Gobble…

© 2011, ©It’s All About Foods !™ by NickyEddy. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted in "Wallet-Friendly" Meals & Recipes, Chez Moi @ Nicky, Comfort Foods, Drinks, Recipes, Survival Foods, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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